Below I speak with Kevin Lee, the Style Director at Julien Farel. Kevin has been styling my hair for over ten years. He is always on top of the current trends, and his work has been featured in many publications including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Town and Country. In the March 2016 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, Tory Burch referred to Kevin as her “go to” stylist. He definitely is mine! Read on for Kevin’s tips on hair styles over 40, advice and general trends. You can follow Kevin on Instagram @kevinleehair.
When I turned 40 I wanted to cut my hair and you encouraged me not to. Do you think there is an age when long hair doesn’t work anymore?
While I think there is a time when long hair doesn’t work on some people’s faces, I don’t believe it’s an age like our parents (my mother) believed- “at 40 a woman had to cut her hair short”. Maybe they were lazy and wanted an easier hairstyle- not having to fuss anymore- so part of it was liberating for that generation as they could embrace being an adult. Today, I look at it as a cop out. You need to stay attractive to your husband or to your partner. You need to hold up your end. It’s different for each person and each decade or year of their life but I don’t think that anyone should cut their hair off at a certain time.
Do a lot of people come to you with a picture from a magazine and say “I want to look like this person”?
Pictures are a great way to communicate ideas – it’s only a problem when they are stuck on the person and not the idea or the concept of the hair like “Please make me look like (Scarlett, Jennifer, fill in the blank)”. It’s not so much that they want that hair, it’s more they want to look like that woman. And that’s when you are going to run into trouble because you are never going to be able to remake yourself in the likeness of someone else. I can try to make them their best possible self -but you can never turn someone into somebody else. That’s when I’ll put down the scissors and say I’m not the right stylist.
At Julien Farel you have some anti aging products for hair. Are they effective? Tell me about them.
Depending on DNA and lifestyle, everyone goes through different phases in their life where their hair can actually begin to look older than where they are chronologically. Grey hair has different texture- it loses its shine, its resilience and someone who is young begins to look older than their actual age. My sister for example- she was half grey at 18!
This is when you need to go with supplements and products that will help your hair retain a luster and look healthier than it is by nature. Some products we have at Julien Farel, for example “The Restore” and “The Magnifique”, can work wonders on some women. There’s also a supplemental vitamin called Nutriful– brilliant! For other women, we have Viviscalp. Without a lot of effort, there are products out that can make a huge impact.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you see people making with their hair as they age? Conversely, what do you think works particularly well?
The two biggest things that come to mind are going too blonde, and going the color that they were in their youth- particularly if it was really dark. The risk with making your hair too dark is it emphasizes every wrinkle and crease in your face. You should be going lighter as you age and some women have a tendency to want to re-capture their youth and they want to go back to that color they were when they were young. There’s a happy medium. Highlights can come in and kind of soften up what’s going on. It’s ok to try to recapture a youthful look – but trust your hairdresser!
I have seen a lot more women who don’t want to color their hair and let it go grey. Are you seeing that as a trend? Are more women saying “screw it- I’m not going to deal with my roots anymore?”
Good question! This has been one of the biggest trends of the last year. Grey has become such a statement color. Ironically I’m seeing the younger girls who are after grey hair. On older women, grey hair tends to show age too readily. There’s a way of camouflaging grey and still keeping it. It’s called a Reverse Highlight. You are adding back the natural color but still keeping the grey. This helps to soften and minimize the grey that comes with getting older. But as far as grey as a trend, on a young girl, there’s something about it to my eye it can look really pretty. It can actually look very youthful- pretty ironic!
What other hair trends do you see for the next year?
Two trends I see are the WOB and the LOB. The WOB is a wavy LOB. A LOB is a long Bob. The idea of texture and the idea of a “lived-in” hair is something that isn’t going anywhere- in fact, I think we are just beginning to see how textured hair can be. This new length gives women the feel of still having length –it’s actually a little longer in the front, shorter in the back. Its cut to just around the clavicle and you can have a lot of different looks with it. For example, you are able to pull this back into a ponytail, or put it up in a top-knot. It’s a versatile length as it allows women to still feel they have long and short hair at the same time. Another trend I’m seeing is women who are 70 plus beginning to get extensions, so that from the back they actually look quite young and then they turn around to reveal their true age. Everyone is going in the direction of the “Real housewives of any city” and wants longer hair, which is possible because of extensions and hairpieces. Personally, I don’t think is a particularly flattering look! Hopefully by this time next year super long hair will not be part of the fashion lexicon.
What do you think is the biggest trendsetter for hair at every season? Is it still celebrities? Magazines? How much has social media changed all of this?
Social media has changed everything. Magazines, at one point, were the gold standard. People ran to the magazine stand every month because they gave direction on beauty, hair, and clothing. Today, it’s all celebrity and social media driven, which have such strong, real time followers. Magazines have taken a back seat. Celebrity looks, red carpet events, the award shows-these feed into social media which feeds into what people want. It’s real-time and it’s a powerful influence.
Julien Farel products can be found at www.julienfarel.com